When it came time for Carreiro to attend high school, his parents "wanted to give me the best opportunity possible, and knew that Marian would provide that opportunity."

Yet, with his father working as a butcher and his mother working as a house cleaner, the family couldn't afford the private Catholic high school. So, Carreiro applied for and received a partial scholarship through ICSF.

"This scholarship makes a difference, but it still means my mom has to drive from house to house in her 14 year old Corolla just so that I can attend Marian. But, if it means I can attend Marian, there's nothing she'd rather do," he said.

Marian High School, he said, not only focuses on academics, but it also puts an emphasis on service. In addition to helping out at a local soup kitchen and volunteering at another organization, Carreiro said he recently led Marian's National Honor Society, of which he is president, in a volunteering and fundraising effort for Resiliency for Life, an academic intervention and dropout prevention program for students of Framingham Public Schools.

"I think that, especially as someone who has received so much help from the community, it's important for me to volunteer and pay it forward," said Carreiro.

Marian High and the ICSF scholarship changed his life, he said, adding that he has been accepted to Duke, Brown, Swarthmore, and Northeastern universities and plans on studying engineering.

"Thank you for believing in all of us and giving us the opportunity to receive a greater education," he said to the hundreds of benefactors of ICSF before thanking his parents, who were in attendance.

The speaking program also included remarks by Michael Reardon, executive director of the Catholic Schools Foundation; Jason Martinez, a CSF Scholar Alumnus and a 2012 graduate of Central Catholic High School; John Farina, event chairman and Northeast managing partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers; and Stephanie Nearhos of PwC.

WCVB TV anchor Ben Simmoneau acted as the Master of Ceremonies, and Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley said the invocation and offered comments.

The honoree of the gala was Staples, Inc., and CEO Shira Goodman was present to accept the Carolyn and Peter Lynch Award, which was presented by Catholic Schools Foundation founder Peter Lynch.

Part of the award plaque was printed by students from St. Joseph Prep in Boston using a 3D printer.

"On behalf of everyone here from Staples, I am really honored and inspired to accept the Carolyn and Peter Lynch Award," said Goodman.

But, she said, "the truth is that we at Staples want to thank ICSF" for bringing people together to find common ground.

"ICSF is that rare gift where we are not divided by red and blue, but we are united by doing something that is really important" and transcending divisions, Goodman said.